2nd release by guitarist/oudist Grdina's NY jazz/rock group combines extensive counterpoint with intense improvisations.
Juno award-winning Vancouver guitar/oud player Gordon Grdina ''continues to passionately explore the depths of jazz improvisation, cross-cultural fusions and the fun that comes with cutting loose'' (Stuart Derdeyn). Following on Inroads (2017), this second release by his wildly eclectic NY jazz-rock quartet combines intricate, through-composed counterpoint with the ebb and flow of dynamic yet focused improvisation. The band comprises Oscar Noriega (Tim Berne) on alto sax and bass clarinet), Russ Lossing (Paul Motian) on piano/Rhodes/clavinet, and Satoshi Takeishi (Ben Monder) on drums. Grdina takes inspiration from the complexity of Bartok, the open spaces and free form lyricism of Paul Bley, the energy and logical construction of ideas of Soundgarden, and the delicacy of Webern. He also cites Tim Berne as a major influence (Noriega is a member of Berne's ECM band Snakeoil).
Grdina's distinctive approach to cross-genre playing and composing draws together elements that you wouldn't expect to hear together. For example, piano and oud improvise a spacey, knotty duet on the 15-minute piece ''Wayward.'' Grdina's unique, virtuosic style of oud playing, though based in a thorough understanding of Arabic classical and folk music, liberates the instrument to explore textures and melodic territory far removed from tradition. Likewise his guitar style draws on deep jazz roots, combining them with a full-on rock intensity and a fascination with challenging structures at the outer reaches of tonality.